GCC Student Kadeja Jenkins Receives EOP Student Excellence Award
Written by Alex Feig on November 12, 2019
Last month, at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan, Genesee Community College Criminal Justice student, Kadeja Jenkins received the 2019 Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for EOP Student Excellence.
The State University of New York (SUNY) Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) provides access, academic support and financial aid to students who show promise for success in college but who may not have otherwise been offered admission. In 2019, SUNY established the Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for EOP Student Excellence to recognize students who have overcome significant obstacles in their own lives and who have demonstrated academic success, courage, perseverance and leadership qualities in achieving their educational and personal goals.
Having lived in NYC all her life, Jenkins enrolled in a local community college, but she struggled to stay focused on her education while meeting the demands of her home life. She began searching for an affordable college away from the distractions of the city.
“GCC offered exactly what I was looking for,” said Jenkins. “The Criminal Justice major fit well into my plan to become a probation officer and the quiet country area was all new to me and it allowed me to focus and get away from everything that interfered with my studies before.”
From 350 miles away, the interruptions from home continued to test Jenkins’ commitment to her college education. While home for the summer and contemplating dropping out of college, she received a call from Dr. Thomas C. Priester GCC’s associate vice president of Student Success who offered Jenkins an opportunity to be an EOP Navigator, guiding and mentoring the newest EOP students at GCC’s Summer Academy.
“To me, being given the opportunity to come back to campus early as an EOP Navigator was a sign that I belonged at GCC. It changed everything. I got myself registered for classes and back on campus and it has been a wonderful experience. I am on track to graduate in January of 2020,” said Jenkins.
Guests at the first EOP Honors Awards Ceremony in Manhattan heard from EOP graduate, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson.
“Through the EOP, SUNY has changed the course of so many lives and has given so many students the chance to excel and pursue their dreams,” Chancellor Johnson said at the ceremony. “We are enormously proud of the students receiving these awards today. Many of them have overcome enormous obstacles to fulfill goals that once may have seemed unattainable. I applaud every one of them for demonstrating perseverance and determination.”
Jenkins offers this advice to students who may be struggling – “Don’t give up! Things may not go the way you expected – but it all plays out the way it’s supposed to in the end.”
Through her hard work and perseverance Jenkins earned a place in GCC’s Recognition Matters series which highlights the accomplishments of the College’s faculty, staff and students. Officials at GCC have embraced this series as a way to acknowledge not only the achievement, but the high quality of the recognized individuals who demonstrate GCC’s “beyond expectations” brand.